Eagles off to rocky start

Jackson McCrae '23, Managing Editor

Despite not having high expectations for the Eagles, it’s hard not to be let down by their slow start. While the Eagles have looked near competent on some drives more times than not, they end up shooting themselves in the foot. Between offensive penalties leading to touchdowns getting called back, or defensive penalties giving up crucial first downs, the Eagles’ season has been defined by miscues. Six weeks into the season it’s hard to get a clear picture of how the rest of the Eagles season will turn out, but if they continue at the rate they’re going, the Eagles should end up with a high draft pick.

Jalen Hurts: Hurts has been heavily scrutinized since before the season even began, and despite all the pressure on him, he has consistently performed well. He’s been far from perfect, but he’s been excellent when he needs to be, and is always giving the Eagles a chance in close games. Through six games, he’s thrown for 1,480 yards, 8 TD’s, with a passer rating of 88.6, and he’s run in 5 TD’s. Despite Hurts only being in his second year, he’s a leader in the locker room and has the respect of his teammates and the coaching staff.

Nick Sirianni: First year coach Nick Sirianni has been put under a microscope as well. However, Sirianni hasn’t thrived quite like Hurts has. Sirianni’s play calling has frankly been puzzling, and it’s put the Eagles in bad spots. First off, there has been a noticeable dip in the amount of run plays from week one and a steady increase in the amount of screen plays. Sirianni hasn’t really given Hurts the chance to be creative and maximize his skill set, which has led to weekly struggles.

Offensive Miscues: The Eagles’ offense must have placed a bet on how many touchdowns they can get called back in one season, because it seems like every time they cross the pylon, a yellow flag ruins it. Whether it’s a hold, or an illegal touching, or Andre Dillard is even remotely involved in the play, the Eagles always manage to ruin their momentum. Against Kansas City, the Eagles had three touchdowns called back, which as you can imagine, made a massive difference in the outcome of the game. If the Eagles’ offense can’t clean it up, it’ll be hard for the team to have much success

Injuries: Per usual, the Eagles are unable to stay healthy. First it was Rodney McLeod missing the first few weeks, then it was Brandon Graham, who is now out for the season. Brandon Brooks also got injured and isn’t expected to return until about week ten. Isaac Seumalo missed some time, and Lane Johnson has been out for undisclosed personal reasons. Long story short, the offensive line has been heavily depleted, and it has caused issues for the Eagles.

The Young Core: The Eagles first and second year players have had a major impact on this team. Rookie WR DeVonta Smith has exceeded expectations, making an impact every week. Sophomore WR Quez Watkins has led the league in yards per catch and has made several big plays in few touches. Sirianni needs to make a concerted effort to get Watkins more involved, because he can really impact this team if he gets more touches. Rookie RB Kenneth Gainwell has surprised most by bursting onto the scene, making the most of limited carries, and forming a dangerous backfield duo with Miles Sanders. OL Landon Dickerson has also done a great job filling the absence of the battered offensive lineman.

Linebackers: The Eagles’ linebackers have been nothing short of atrocious. While Dickerson has played well, it’s hard not to look back at the second round of the draft with regret at passing on Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. On an Eagles team that has been far from good, the linebackers have been the weakest spot.

Javon Hargrave: Hargrave has been a very pleasant surprise for this Eagles team, and he’s made a habit of wreaking havoc on opposing offenses. Through six games, Hargrave has 31 tackles, including 16 solo tackles (tied for 11th in the league), 6 sacks (tied for 4th in the league), and he has a forced fumble. He has come up huge in the absence of Brandon Graham and has given the Eagles a weekly spark.

While the Eagles toughest games are behind them, their schedule going forward is still going to prove challenging. The Eagles face off against the Las Vegas Raiders week 7, The Los Angeles Chargers week 9, and they wrap up their season against the Cowboys on week 18. The Eagles chances of making the playoffs are getting slimmer every week and if they keep playing how they are, there will be no Philadelphia football after January 9th.